Hillary's not looking so inevitable, after all

My spidey sense has been telling me for a while that Hillary Clinton would not be a very strong candidate for president, despite those polls that seem to show her ahead of the GOP field.  First of all, she has tons of baggage, including a disastrous term as Secretary of State. Relations with Russia are in the tank, and there is that picture of her with an idiot grin holding a “reset button” with her Russian counterpart. Then, there is Benghazi, still ignored by the major media, but fodder for devastating ads to be used against her. Beyond that, the entire Obama foreign policy has been a disaster, and she planted all of the seeds for it, from the Arab Spring to the dissing of Israel.

But beyond these considerations is that fact that she is old, and is yesterday’s news. And America, as Barack Obama’s candidacy showed, likes to turn the page on bad news, and put its faith in new faces.  Then there is the Hillary screech. Face it, she is not a pleasant voice to listen to, has eyes that bulge out at the slightest provocation, and when agitated, says dumb stuff like, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” in offensive, angry tones.

She has dropped out of sight lately, which is a sure sign that plastic surgery is underway (again) to repair that tired visage. But she can’t remake history.

Now comes a very interesting poll, leaked to Politico, and insightfully analyzed Ed Morrissey of Hot Air.

 In a PPP poll taken this week, Hillary Clinton can’t get to 50% against any Republican challenger paired against her, even Romney:

The automated poll of nearly 900 registered voters, conducted last week by Public Policy Polling, found that 48 percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, compared to 43 percent who viewed the former secretary of State favorably.

While Clinton — the prospective favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination should she enter the race — holds leads over every major GOP candidate tested in the poll, she doesn’t break 50 percent against any, and some are well within striking distance. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comes closest, with Clinton leading him by a margin of 45 percent to 42 percent (with 14 percent not sure who they’d vote for) – within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

It’s worth noting the provenance of this particular survey:

The poll was provided to POLITICO by one of the donors who funded it, who asked to remain anonymous. It does not directly ask respondents to rate Warren’s favorability or to choose between the Massachusetts Senator and Clinton, nor does it pit Warren against any of the prospective GOP candidates. But it appears to be part of a broader effort by liberal Democratic donors and activists to make the case that Warren, who has repeatedly insisted she has no interest in running for president, could defeat Clinton for the Democratic nomination and also would be a more viable general election candidate.

If that’s the case, then Warren supporters have lots of reasons to be disappointed in the results. 

Ed points out that a lot of the questions are essentially push-poll questions, designed to make Warren look good. But even so,

Warren only gets a 25/37 on the same coattail measure in question 25 – almost identical to Hillary. Warren supporters may have outdone themselves with this exercise.

Separately, and also noted by Ed, Andrew Malcolm of IBD spotted a collapse in Hillary’s polling numbers underway:

In a hypothetical match-up, her margin over Jeb Bush, the closest GOP president, was cut in half to eight points this month, 45%-37%, according to Zogby. That’s down from a whopping 15-point lead in December. Similarly, the former first lady’s 15-point margin over Mitt Romney slid to nine points, 46%-37%.

Still sizable margins, to be sure. But trending uncomfortably in the wrong direction even before an announcement, as Clinton goes to ground to plot her campaign, assemble staff and devise a credible rationale other than gender for why Americans should let her move back into the White House, this time in the West Wing.

I almost pity her team, some of the most viciously cynical political operatives out there, as they struggle to come up with a plausible rationale for why she should return to the White House, this time as president. So far, other than fond memories of a prosperous economy under a GOP House controlling the budget and negotiating with the president (unlike you know who), they’ve got nothing.  Perhaps their best argument is that the rest of the Democrats’ bench is so weak. But that does not make for good TV ads.